Paris Hilton, Joey Buttafuoco, Amy Fisher, John Wayne Bobbitt, Heidi Fleiss, Paul Reubens... remember them? Time usually fazes out such nincompoops from our daily vision, even if TV tabloids and the New York Times try their ever-best to make them stars.
I remember flying into a city once to cover an event in the mid-1990s and a marquee near the airport read: “Starring tonight, John Wayne Bobbitt!”
Did anyone really want to see this guy... let alone meet him?
Joey Buttafuoco became a short-lived TV star despite his young girlfriend, Fisher, shooting his wife, Mary Jo, in the face. Partially paralyzed, Mary Jo quietly moved to the west coast while her ex earned fame.
Reubens, once a hit with the kiddos, became anything but a hit with the adults following his arrest.
Fleiss was running one of the largest modern-day brothels out of the Hollywood area, and came off as a complete fool during her trial, although she too became a short-lived TV star because of her yucky past.
Then there’s Hilton, who unless I’ve missed something was the least-talented individual to ever earn air time. My do is more talented and she just barks at squirrels and passer-by cats from the window. Can anyone name something Hilton did other than being a socialite and great-granddaughter of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton? Wikipedia says she was a businesswoman, model, singer, actress and fashion-designer. Hmm, I think being Conrad’s great-granddaughter was her claim to fame.
If shooting for the stars is your thing, go for it. But getting on the stage with the bright lights can come at a heavy cost. We’ve seen (or heard of) Hank Williams, Richard Pryor, John Belushi, Whitney Houston, Chris Farley, River Phoenix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger – the list goes on and on -- get too close to the lights. Was it worth it; not getting to enjoy latter years with kids and grandkids? I bet if you could ask any of them if they’d do it differently, they’d probably say yes.
Hopefully, we see the signs more readily today and wise minds and intervention prevails. Hopefully, those acting like fools will not be rewarded for doing so, and we can see them come back clean and sober rather than celebrating their accomplishments in their short time here.